Poverty in the Asian American Community in New York Featuring SAYA!

NewsAs the reces­sion deep­ens and more and more peo­ple around the coun­try find them­selves job­less or stretched thin eco­nom­i­cal­ly, its impor­tant to high­light how dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties are being affect­ed in dif­fer­ent ways. This excel­lent piece from My9 News (New York) reporter Ti Hua Chang. Chang pro­files Asian Amer­i­cans and South Asians liv­ing at or near the pover­ty lev­el in New York. Many work for long hours for low wages and have lit­tle cush­ion as the econ­o­my wors­ens. More­over, few­er Asian Amer­i­cans use gov­ern­ment ser­vices; one of the star­tling facts Chang men­tions is that while Asian Amer­i­cans make up 12% of the city’s pop­u­la­tion, they recieve about 1% of the gov­ern­ment or pri­vate fund­ing. From seniors iso­lat­ed to their apart­ments to the Bangladeshi man work­ing two jobs to build a bet­ter future for his chil­dren, the sto­ries are uni­form­ly heart­break­ing and under­score how these com­mu­ni­ties are suf­fer­ing. The Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of an NCSO part­ner SAYA!, Annet­ta Seecha­ran, speaks to the impor­tance of invest­ing in these com­mu­ni­ties and help­ing them build more secure futures. Check the video out at <http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102477092076&e=001aIe-v1SY2wJtz3gLloLGdx1EKmzkq4MLylD-QY-vhvtPm4PpNI1fizuFNK7DJ9xNvqE7uIqAHfOuwQFZfhlGgbyZXU4mMQErjoOS5BY3c6v1VRiakPRE5d8nicqHS-RMP1dq69Qg8mw=>

Daily Buzz 2.23.2009

1.) Stu­dents dis­cuss the lack of… some­thing in Asian-Amer­i­can Fam­i­lies

2.)  South Asian Man Stopped 21 times by NYPD sues

3.)  Indi­an-Trained Amer­i­can Sur­geon Fac­ing Manslaugh­ter Charges

4.) Eye on 2012, Jin­dal rejects Oba­ma dole

5.) On the road to sex­u­al equal­i­ty- A Queer South Asian Man Shares His Expe­ri­ence in Boston

Daily Buzz 2.19.2009

1.) Sri Lankan For­eign Sec­re­tary Responds to Hip Hop Star MIA

2.) Inter­view with Kavitha Rajagopalan, author of Mus­lims of Metrop­o­lis

3.) Reces­sion Silences more Asian-Amer­i­can Voic­es

4.) DJ Ravi Drums to Per­form on the 2009 Acad­e­my Awards

5.) The UK is cur­rent­ly look­ing to clas­si­fy all Sharia beliefs as extrem­ist

6.) “Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee”: Per­son­al Reflec­tions on South Asian Immi­grant Wom­en’s Cul­tur­al Iden­ti­ty

Daily Buzz 2.18.2009

1.) Pak­istani-Amer­i­cans in Chica­go talk about Oba­ma

2.) Mus­lim & S. Asian Wom­en’s Groups Con­demn Behead­ing of Aasiya Has­san

3.) Opin­ions: Are Hon­or Killings Sim­ply Domes­tic Vio­lence?

4.) Pro­fes­sor Sud­hir Venkatesh asks “What Should We Do?” to the South Asian Phil­an­thropy Project: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3

5.) Tal­iban threats reach Pak­istani Amer­i­cans

How the Economic Downturn is Affecting Nonprofits

In times of eco­nom­ic cri­sis, non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tions often see an increase in the need for ser­vices. SAALT’s part­ners who pro­vide ser­vices to South Asian com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers are observ­ing an increased need for hous­ing, job train­ing, and ben­e­fits due to lay­offs, lack of jobs, and the down­turn in the econ­o­my.  At the same time, non-prof­its too are fac­ing the bur­den of the eco­nom­ic cri­sis and are hav­ing to lay off staff, reduce pro­gram­ming, and dip into reserve funds.

As Daniel Gross, a finan­cial edi­tor at Newsweek, point­ed out as ear­ly as June of 2008, dona­tions from indi­vid­ual donors are down from what they used to be. And with 80 per­cent of sup­port to non-prof­its com­ing from 20 per­cent of the peo­ple in Amer­i­ca, any reduc­tion in giv­ing can have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on non-prof­it groups.

How can South Asians who are able to give sup­port the non-prof­its that are so crit­i­cal in our local com­mu­ni­ties? Why give at all? Read an excerpt from a post from Sayu Bho­jwani (for­mer Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of South Asian Youth Action and former Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs for New York City on the South Asian Philanthropy Project blog about the importance of strategic giving within the South Asian community:

South Asian phil­an­thropy has until recent­ly meant con­tribut­ing to caus­es in the home coun­try and to region­al and reli­gious asso­ci­a­tions here in the U.S. As the com­mu­ni­ty matures, accu­mu­lates wealth, and increas­es in num­ber, more South Asian Amer­i­cans are con­tribut­ing to insti­tu­tions in the Unit­ed States, tar­get­ing resources to issues of con­cern in the com­mu­ni­ty. Strate­gi­cal­ly uti­lized, the “brown dol­lar” can boost the capac­i­ty of fledg­ling orga­ni­za­tions that serve the needs of minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ties across the U.S. and can play a crit­i­cal role in shap­ing per­spec­tives about South Asians in the broad­er Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty.

In the fif­teen years or so that I have been work­ing in the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty and in phil­an­thropy, I have been frus­trat­ed by the piece­meal approach that peo­ple often take to phil­an­thropy. South Asians who give, whether they are wealthy or not, are like most oth­ers who give—responsive to a per­son­al­ized request from a friend or col­league, drawn by a per­son­al con­nec­tion to an issue or orga­ni­za­tion, or moti­vat­ed by the need to meet a cer­tain end-of-year lev­el of giv­ing

Read more here <http://southasianphilanthropy.org/2009/02/02/sapp-blog-forum-sayu-bhojwani/>

SAALT E.D., Deepa Iyer, profiled in Takoma Voice

Check out this pro­file of SAALT’s own Exec­u­tive Direc­tor (and proud Tako­ma Park res­i­dent) Deepa Iyer pub­lished in the Tako­ma Voice. The arti­cle was writ­ten by Paree­sha Narag, a stu­dent at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land and a past stu­dent of Deep­a’s.

Check out the full arti­cle here: http://www.silverspringvoice.com/archives/pdfs/2008/1208pdfs/023_mn_dec08.pdf

SAALT and Community Partners Issue Statement Regarding Recent Bias Crimes Targeting South Asians in New Jersey

You may be sur­prised to learn that near­ly 200,000 South Asians reside in the state of New Jer­sey.  SAALT’s New Jer­sey Com­mu­ni­ty Empow­er­ment Project devel­oped from a series of meet­ings in 2004 with South Asian orga­ni­za­tions in New Jer­sey, allies, and con­cerned South Asian indi­vid­u­als.  Through these dia­logues, it became clear that South Asian com­mu­ni­ties in New Jer­sey are under­served and large­ly voice­less in pol­i­cy debates. To learn more about the New Jer­sey Com­mu­ni­ty Empow­er­ment Project, or to read our report high­light­ing key issues affect­ing the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty in New Jer­sey, “A Com­mu­ni­ty of Con­trasts: South Asians in New Jer­sey,” please check out SAALT’s local ini­tia­tives page.

In response to recent bias-crimes tar­get­ed towards the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty in New Jer­sey, SAALT, along with sev­er­al South Asian com­mu­ni­ty part­ners — Man­avi; South Asian Men­tal Health Aware­ness in Jer­sey (SAMHAJ); the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR-NJ); UNITED SIKHS; and the Sikh Coali­tion issued a joint state­ment con­demn­ing all bias crimes.  Read the state­ment below:

“We come togeth­er, as orga­ni­za­tions serv­ing South Asian com­mu­ni­ties here in New Jer­sey, to denounce the recent hate crimes and bias inci­dents that have tak­en place in our state.  The South Asian com­mu­ni­ty in New Jer­sey, with a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of 200,000, has long con­front­ed bias and dis­crim­i­na­tion, begin­ning in the 1980’s with the attacks per­pe­trat­ed by the ‘Dot­busters’ and the post‑9/11 back­lash.  In addi­tion, our orga­ni­za­tions — Man­avi; the Sikh Coali­tion; the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR-NJ); South Asian Men­tal Health Aware­ness in Jer­sey (SAMHAJ); and UNITED SIKHS — have observed a rise in New Jer­sey, which we believe has fos­tered an envi­ron­ment where bias inci­dents and hate crimes can occur.

Today, we stand in sol­i­dar­i­ty not only with the Gre­w­al fam­i­ly — vic­tims of a cross-burn­ing out­side their home; Mr. Ajit Singh Chi­ma — an elder­ly Sikh man who, on Octo­ber 30th, in Wayne, New Jer­sey, was vio­lent­ly punched and kicked in the face sev­er­al times by an uniden­ti­fied man, and as a result suf­fered sev­er­al frac­tures around his eyes and jaw; Gan­gadeep Singh — a fifth grade stu­dent who, on Octo­ber 8th, was attacked in Carteret, New Jer­sey while walk­ing home from school by an uniden­ti­fied masked assailant that threw him on the ground and cut off his hair — but with all sur­vivors of bias and hate crimes.

We stand togeth­er now because we must say no to any act of bias and intol­er­ance when it hap­pens.  We stand togeth­er to ask our elect­ed offi­cials and law enforce­ment agen­cies to pro­tect sur­vivors of hate crimes and to join us in con­demn­ing them.  As a vibrant seg­ment of New Jer­sey’s neigh­bor­hoods, schools, busi­ness­es, and non-prof­it sec­tors, South Asians raise our voic­es to call for jus­tice and equal­i­ty for all.”

Please join us for a march and ral­ly in sup­port of the Gre­w­al fam­i­ly on Sat­ur­day, Novem­ber 15th at 3PM in Hard­wick, New Jer­sey.  The ‘Uni­ty for the Com­mu­ni­ty’ March will start at the Munic­i­pal Build­ing and end at the Gre­w­al res­i­dence with a ral­ly. 

Satur­day, Novem­ber 5th, 3PM
Hard­wick Munic­i­pal Build­ing
40 Spring Val­ley Road
Hard­wick, NJ 07825
If you’d like to attend but do not have a ride, please con­tact Qudsia:
(qudsia@saalt.org) or call (201) 850‑3333.

Addi­tion­al­ly, if you’d like to learn more about bias and hate crimes, check out a new resource by SAALT:  “Know Your Rights Resource Address­ing Hate Crimes”

History Repeating Itself: Xenophobia in Political Discourse

With mere­ly one week until Elec­tion Day, it seems like can­di­date stump speech­es, pun­dit com­men­tary, and the vol­ley of talk­ing points from all sides are every­where you turn. And if you’re any­thing like me, you’re trans­fixed to cable news and media analy­sis about what’s been hap­pen­ing on the cam­paign trail.

Here at SAALT, we’ve been keep­ing a spe­cial eye on what’s being said in this high­ly-charged polit­i­cal atmos­phere par­tic­u­lar­ly as it relates to the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty. In recent years, we’ve unfor­tu­nate­ly wit­nessed a spate of xeno­pho­bic com­ments being made against our com­mu­ni­ty with­in polit­i­cal dis­course. Such rhetoric has emerged in var­i­ous forms, includ­ing chal­leng­ing the loy­al­ty of those who are or per­ceived to be Mus­lim. Sad­ly, this hear­kens back to the sen­ti­ments and actions that led to bias and dis­crim­i­na­tion against South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, and Arab com­mu­ni­ties in the after­math of 9/11 and raise con­cerns about the over­all envi­ron­ment lead­ing up to elec­tion. We encour­age the com­mu­ni­ty to remain vig­i­lant about such rhetoric.

Be sure to check out SAALT’s three-part toolk­it on xeno­pho­bia in polit­i­cal dis­course, which includes com­ments made by polit­i­cal fig­ures against the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty, remarks made against South Asian can­di­dates for polit­i­cal office, and tips on how com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers can respond to such rhetoric, which have been fea­tured by UC Davis Law Pro­fes­sor Bill O. Hing over at Immi­gra­tionProf­Blog.